Strade Bianche: The Rainbow Shines In Siena and Fabian Cancellara Leaves His Mark

The World Champion Armistead won the women's race from the break attacking in the last climb. 
In the men's race a break is also away 8 km to go, it includes Sagan, Cancellara, Stybar and Brambilla. The last one keeps attacking and finally succeed, 5 km to go he has a small gap.
Santa Caterina: Brambilla is solo but Fabian Cancellara pulls the chasing group closing the gap. Brambilla gets caught, Sagan is dropped but Stybar keeps Cancellara's wheel. He can't sprint though and Cancellara crosses the finish line first. Again. For the 3rd time. In the last year of his great career.
Unlucky team Sky Savatore Puccio was very active in the first part of the race but had a series of mechanical problems. Vincenzo Nibali was racing for Jakob Fuglsang today, no top ten for them. 


Elisabeth Armitstead 
"To think I won  the first UCI Women's World Tour race in history, in such a specil race... Its incredible! After I won in Belgium last week I knew the Rainbow Jersey's curce doesn't affect me. 
I managed to honour this jersey today too. In the break-away we worked together  in the last 10 km and I attacked in the last climb. All went perfectly."

Fabian Cancellara:
"It's a special day. I'm proud. I'm speechless, sorry. I knew that with Brambilla in front I masten't catch his too early because Etixx was doing a team work. I fought until the end, you never know, Stybar could still pass me, he's a cyclocross rider. I want to enjoy this life fully, I want a good season and to stay healty because it's my last season. I left a big mark in Siena and I'm happy."
"This year I really want to go out with a bang. I want to thank all my teammates for supporting me today, and all these years. This is just amazing! I knew that Stybar is a cyclocross guy, so I had to be careful for him. He won last year as well, and he is very good at this last climb. I am very, very happy. Third time… and now they will name a white gravel section after me, and that's exciting. 
For sure the car gave me the last confidence for the win. They helped me play with the tactics of the Etixx guys. They told me also to let Sagan work [in the chase] and that we don't give too many seconds to Brambilla. He was already in the front all day, so I could catch him in the last climb, and we can play there. Everything went perfectly well. 
I made the pace on the final climb because I knew that Sagan would not do it because I saw him already in a little bit of difficulty. I knew that it was probably going to be Stybar and me, so I had to play like this. 
This is special. I had to play at the end, it was a lottery. I knew I had to risk. I had trust in myself; it was experience. I knew that Etixx was going to play the team game and I just had to make sure that Brambilla did not take too much time. The most decisive moment was when Peter made the acceleration and I managed to jump up to him and Stybar. It wasn't a big collaboration between us because we are all big riders, plus Etixx had a team game to play. I think my work in the last 5 kilometers was risky, but it was the only way. It all worked out and I am proud."

Zdenek Stybar:
"What an impressive ride @glbrambilla and all @Etixx_QuickStep team. Thank you for the support. #WayToRide"
"The last corner is a key of the race, and we had again of confirmation of this today. I tried to overtake Fabian, but he was too strong and didn't let me in. I'm not ashamed to lose to Cancellara.
When Gianluca was at the front, I was hoping he will be victorious, but got caught. It's a pity for him, but we don't have any reason to blame ourselves. To climb again on the podium at Strade Bianche gives me a lot of confidence for the next races, because I'm where I want to be with my form."

Gianluca Brambilla:
"On the fifth gravel road sector, a lot of riders were being dropped, so I decided to go to the front and get a small gap, which I did. Others joined in and we kept going until the final 20 kilometers. Then I distanced my breakaway companions and when Styby, Cancellara and Sagan bridged to me, I talked with my teammate and said I will play everything for him, so that he gets a free ride. I attacked relentlessly, went full gas, but eventually I got tired after being all day at the front and got caught with 200 meters to go. I can't say I lost the race, as Fabian was very strong. Of course I am sad because we didn't land the win, but I am happy for being at the front with such big champions. It's something that's happening more and more often since the beginning of the year, and it motivates me to get another victory sooner or later."

Petter Nordhaug:
"It was a hard day. The race started really early with Quick-Step riding on the front. It was windy and it was important to be up near the front. We were riding for Kwiato and everyone was riding pretty well as a team and doing a good job. Salva Puccio went in the break which was perfect. He was really strong but he was unlucky to have a mechanical problem. That was a shame as I think he could have stayed ahead for a long time. We tried to position ourselves at the front with Kwiato but in the end it was just really really hard. When Sagan and those guys attacked Kwiato went through to follow but I think maybe missed that last bit of energy to follow them. For me ninth is pretty good but I was riding for Kwiato. Once I heard he wasn't in the group I just tried to stay up there and finish with a good placing."

Tiesj Benoot:
“It was a hard day, but I knew that before I started. I have mixed feelings because I had hoped for a better result. On the other hand I was in the finale at the side of top riders. I can conclude that I didn’t have a great day, but that I was good, otherwise I wouldn’t have finished eighth.
The team was strong today with Jens, Pim and Maxime who joined a breakaway and in the peloton the others kept me out of the wind, I’m grateful to all of them. At the end the strongest riders in the race took off. The images are clear, we had to pass. I was riding in a good position, but the first four just had more punch. With the chasing group we came pretty close, but everyone was riding à bloc. When Nibali and Kwiatkowski get dropped you know that we were setting a high pace as well. I’m definitely looking forward to the next editions of Strade Bianche. This is a beautiful race and I want to come back for more. Next week I’ll ride Tirreno-Adriatico where I will further prepare myself for the Classics and assist our GC riders.”

Peter Sagan:
“I'm happy with today's race.. Weather conditions were good and it didn't rain. I was in the front group but in the finale I didn’t have the legs to go.”


1 Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 3:30:13
2 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team 0:00:03
3 Emma Johansson (Swe) Wiggle High5 0:00:13
4 Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5 0:01:04
5 Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team 0:01:07
6 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
7 Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica-AIS 0:01:13
8 Claudia Lichtenberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal Ladies 0:01:17
9 Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Hitec Products
10 Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Liv-Plantur 0:01:21
11 Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team 0:01:23
12 Jolanda Neff (Swi) Servetto Footon
13 Malgorzta Jasinska (Pol) Ale' Cipollini 0:01:29
14 Danielle King (GBr) Wiggle High5
15 Shara Gillow (Aus) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team 0:01:32
16 Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS 0:01:36
17 Shelley Olds (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling 0:01:45
18 Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:03:19
19 Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
20 Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon SRAM Racing
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing 4:39:35
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
3 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:04
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:13
5 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:34
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:37
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:41
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:50

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